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Written By: frenchy on May 17, 2008 8 Comments

General Info
Artist/Group: Ween last fm logo
Location: Paradiso, Amsterdam
When: 15 May 2008

Ween Concert Ticket

Who?
They’re one of my all-time favorite bands and I never get tired of saying that! An uncompromising band of true musicians, mixing up the Classic 2-minute Punk track with Bluegrass, Rock and a bit of Electronica on the side. Their lyrics are politically incorrect, offending people from all genders and races, but somehow they get away with it. Somehow I just keep smiling when I hear their songs. Ween has really stretched my tolerance levels to the max.
I missed out on an earlier chance to see these guys perform, but now after quite some years, I was there to enjoy the wacky adventures of Gene and Dean Ween


Video clips at Youtube Logo || last fm logo
Full set list of that evening, courtesy of Last.fm’s Hugo19709

The Show
The band started quite nicely on time, with Dean Ween hopping on the stage with crutches due to some alligator wrestling accident or something. It didn’t stop him from rocking his guitar sitting on a chair during the show.

Dean Ween Cast Performance

The band played quite some songs I knew from the four excellent albums I have of them: Chocolate And Cheese, The Mollusk, Shinola and La Cucaracha.

Some of the more memorable ones:
Spinal Menangitis (Got Me Down)
Oooooh.. The live version also gives me the chills..

Voodoo Lady
Excellent fun!

Learnin’ to Love
The redneck anthem, gotta love it!

Fiesta
So incredibly wacky..

Gene and Dean Ween

My Own Bare Hands
Kinda active-aggressive anthem, the crowd really enjoyed themselves.

Zoloft
The weirdest thing I’ve heard in quite some frigging time!! The song is like it’s title: a medicated form of hallucination; the repeated slow breakdowns were like being in a fishbowl looking at the outside view of purple bunnies tap-dancing on green ice. Loved it!!

Conclusion
Close to two and a half hours of pure noise, emotion and sentiment. Their music is so varied in styles and approaches, it’s mind-boggling. The Dean’s guitar solos and Gene’s vocal acrobatics are the best way to live in sin.

Gene Ween

Last.fm’s uber-queen of soul, blkbetty, once wrote this great article called Can A Sister Rock? The Primal Urge for Rockin and Rollin. Well, this brother’s always had this urge for some strong guitar rock combined with a bit of the bizarre and this band, Ween, does that just perfectly.
A great concert with a great crowd and absolutely incredible music.

Rating: ★★★★½

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Written By: frenchy on May 11, 2008 No Comment

General Info
Artist/Group: Brasilintime – Sujinho CD release last fm logo
Location: Paradiso, Amsterdam
When: 09 May 2008

Brasilintime

Who?
An interesting mix of artists collaborating on a musical experiment. Have a look at the intro..

View Other Videos

Some of the artists:
Madlib last fm logo
Tony Allen last fm logo
Ivan “Mamão” Conti
and a whole list of other performers.

Impressive, right?
Well, the group gave a show in Paradiso and I just had to go have a look.

The Show
The warm up session was nice but waaaay too long so when the show finally started after more than an hour, I was really psyched for some action. And boy, the opening was impressive! The setup: three drum kits and a small percussion set in front; in the back two DJs and Madlib behind keyboard and sample kit.

The set was played as a jam session: one large and uninterrupted performance of a number of songs and compositions.

The rest of the show is hard to describe: it’s a mix of extremes. On the one hand, some stuff was really horrible and noisy crap. But on the other hand there was almost Perfection in what was performed. The third element: I experienced what it is to discover something you’ve never heard before. Something you know you won’t be able to understand. Like a caveman looking at a computer, I felt out of my league and I loved it!

What stood out for me was the discipline these guys showed: keeping the different drumming actions in sync (or sometimes willingly out of sync) and the DJs and Madlib doing their different things as layers of sounds, mixing it all up to interesting music, noises and soundscapes.

Conclusion
I was totally exhausted after the concert, mulling over all that I just had experienced. Like I said: some of the music was not that good, some was incredibly great. And some parts were just An Experience and An Education. Some stuff was just Complex Science and I hope to get old enough to really understand in time what I’ve heard this evening.
And I’m gonna get me the DVD asap!

This concert should’ve been programmed for the North Sea Jazz Festival: it’s fresh, it’s experimental and risky and it’s friggin’ great. That’s what the festival should be about.

read hieronymus fox’s review here!

Rating: ★★★½☆

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Written By: frenchy on March 24, 2008 One Comment

General Description
Artist/Band: Erykah Badu last fm logo || The  Erykah Badu  Profile At MySpace || Discogs Icon
Album Title: New Amerykah
Year: 2008

Erykah Badu - New Amerykah
Strong individual

How I Got Into This Music
Fell in love with this dame way back in the beginning. Not with the studio album but with the live recording: Baduizm Live.
This lady is an intelligent and socially committed musician in the first place; the Eyes come second ;) . Saw here in Paradiso last year, didn’t review it, but believe me: she’s incredible!
Now the new album’s dropped, so.. Let’s have a review, shall we?

Google Search for reviews of this album || Album details at Artistdirect logo || Discogs Icon || last fm logo
Video clips at Youtube Logo || last fm logo

Tracks that got my attention:
Amerykahn Promise
Hey, starting the first track with some blaxploitation movie score really helps setting the mood for this album. The song’s a great tribute to those 70’s grooves, but it doesn’t really work for me.

The Healer
Great song and tribute to the Real Hip-Hop, not the sell-out, cola-light endorsing, MTV Cribs type of rappers (though I did enjoy RedMan’s first appearance in that show, heheh..).

Me
The best song on the album, even though I don’t like who she’s saluting at the end of the track.
Great lyrics:
This year I turned 36
damn it seems it came so quick
My ass and legs have gotten thick yea
Its all me

Soldier
Excellent lyrics and solid production value.

The Cell
Social commentary at its best.
And a very funky bass indeed!

Twinkle
Love me them Old School beats.

Master Teacher
A very poignant question. This line keeps haunting my mind on a daily basis, well written indeed!
And the tempo slowdown halfway the track is pure brilliance. Powerful song.
What if it were no niggas
Only master teachers?

Telephone
Oooooooh.. Sweetness.. And sorrow..
Just fly away to heaven, brother
Make a place for me, brother
Fly away to heaven, brother
Save a place for me, brother
Fly away to heaven, brother
Put in a word for me..

Honey
Hmm, best track on the album to launch as a single. It’s catchy, it’s comfortable and easily recognizable. Should’ve launched it as a Summer track.
And it rocks!

Conclusion
Still prefer the previous album: Worldwide Underground. That one took me a bit to really enjoy, but it grew on me. Not sure if this album’s gonna have the same effect.
This artist is on top her game when she takes risks and she does that with every album. Only this time, it didn’t impress me as much as I expected and that, of course, is my own little fault ;)
If she’s not making her music to please the charts and just to express herself in whatever manner she wants, great, than this album’s very successful.

Rating: ★★★½☆ (those eyes…)

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Written By: frenchy on January 12, 2008 10 Comments

General Info
Artist: José James last fm logo || The  José James  Profile At MySpace || Discogs Icon
Location: Paradiso, Amsterdam
When: 11 January 2008

Concert José James 2008

Who?
Didn’t know anything about this artist; it’s yet another one of Hieronymus Fox’s discoveries. Thanks for the tip bro’!!
Check out some of his performances at Youtube Logo.

The Show
Such a relaxed location, the smaller of the two locations at the Paradiso. Nice large number of people attending, show starts reasonably on time. A great setup: piano/keyboards, drums, bass and James’ vocal talents. Sound quality was quite good, lights weren’t annoying, everything fine..
Now, if you’re not of an adult age and you’re reading this post, get the hell out of here because I’m gonna use some faux exclamations. Parents, have you taken the children out of the room? Fine.

H O L Y S H I T ! ! !
M O M M A , T H I S A R T I S T I S F U C K I N G U N B E L I E V A B L E ! ! !

There, you can bring the kids back to this post..

Songs that Stood Out
Park Bench People
Heheh, HF and me recognized the bass from an old A Tribe Called Quest sample, used in the Sucka Nigga track.
The scat-rap-flow is beautiful and so unbelievably mature.

blackeyedsusan
Sweetness, this guy’s vocals make the lyrics ooze the sweetest honey.

Nola
Googling my black ass off; my mind keeps telling me I know this song from some other artist, but I haven’t found it yet.
Back to the track: the band is always an important factor for an artist, in this case the band adds extra support and lays the foundation for a perfect performance of a great song.

Overall, mister James doing his improvisations
Wow..

Conclusion
It’ll take me a coupla months to really define this guy’s voice. It’s not that he hasn’t his own voice, don’t get me wrong, but there are similarities with people like Bill Withers (Park Bench People). I’ll update every time I get another name that needs to be added.
The strong supporting role of the band needs to get special attention. Pianist Gideon Van Gelder had a particularly tricky roll: on the one hand his improvisations added extra brilliance to the act, but sometimes it got a bit too freaky, too self-indulgent. Guest appearance by Ben Van Gelder on the horn was nice.
I was very impressed with José James’s incredible voice and talent, using his vocals as an instrument in a totally jazzy way. Over the last coupla years we’ve been bombarded with jazzy singers, let’s call ‘em all Jamie, but Jose is more than that: he’s a jazz singers, and the Jamies in this world just have a fraction of James’ depth of talent.
The performance itself, well.. After the initial euphoria during the first five songs you notice a bit of a pattern. That in itself is fine, but it would be more interesting to here the band perform together a bit more. A drum versus bass improv or piano versus bass, whatever. Just not always the vocals and the piano for ten songs straight. A bit more diversity would help.
Next time this guy’s in Holland, I’ll be there and his album’s coming out in two weeks, boys and girls!!

Rating: ★★★★☆ (a great way to start the new year!)

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Written By: frenchy on November 27, 2007 2 Comments

General Info
Artist: Me’shell Ndegeocello last fm logo || The  Me'shell Ndegeocello  Profile At MySpace || Discogs Icon
Location: Paradiso, Amsterdam
When: 26 November 2007

Concert Meshell Ndegeocello 2007

Who?
Ah, Meshell.. Just wrote a review of her latest album, The World Has Made Me The Man Of My Dreams, have a read here. Meshell is a very interesting and exciting artist and from experience I’ve learned not to expect her to go back to her earlier stuff, when her music was pure funk and jazziness. From that last album I knew to expect loud guitars and well, she didn’t disappoint me on that point.
Check out some of her performances at Youtube Logo.

The Show
A.. Bloody.. Mess..
Meshell apologized for feeling a bit under the weather and that affected her voice, okay, fine, glad she still decided to get on stage. And most of the vocals were okay anyway.
Where things really were a bit too weird for my taste is where my girl Meshell’s constantly walking up and down the stage, switching guitars every other song, sometimes halfway, like she just decided to things differently. She was almost obsessed with the sound quality of her material and kept checking it through the monitor speakers. Really messy, I was wishing she just took a big chill pill and paid attention to her public.

Songs that Stood Out
Hmmmm.. tough one.. Most of her tracks were from the latest album, but she played Fool Of Me and Faithful from her album Bitter, which was a great and pleasant surprise. Fool Of Me is one of my alltime heartbreak songs. It was great to hear The Sloganeer: Paradise, that track is just incredible! She almost had me fooled with Evolution, they started playing it just straight with only the guitars, but happily she picked up her bass to do the second part, the tasty bass part, and me was a happy puppy!
Closing song was an excellent surprise: a cover of a Prince classic – All The Critics Love U In NY, fantastic!!

Conclusion
It felt like amateur hour, I’ve seen this lady perform before and never was the performance so chaotic and in need of some musical direction. She’s never the chatty type, but this was almost as communicative as a Middle East summit. If it wasn’t for Meshell, I’d probably left halfway the already very short performance.
Do.. not.. get.. me.. wrong..
Meshell and her band are incredible musicians but that didn’t compensate for the fact that the band was mucking about way too much.
Am I gonna go see her the next time she’s in Holland? Nothing, not even the bloody hordes from Hell (or Groningen) will be able to stop me from attending another Meshell gig, she’s too bloody brilliant to ignore. But please let there be some musical direction..
Still love me some Meshell Ndegeocello, that’s not gonna change, ever.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (1 point because it’s Meshell, half a point for playing All The Critics Love U In NY)

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